December 2, 2014

A Hatchet Man Who's All Heart: an interview with Tom Kakonis, author of "Flawless"


That’s how women describe Michael Woodrow. He’s an irresistibly handsome corporate hatchet man, trimming costs by axing employees. He also likes to kill women. 


That’s how he balances his professional and homicidal lives until he falls in love with his next-door neighbor… and his father ,is released from prison after serving 18 years for murdering Michael’s mother. 


That’s a standard that becomes increasingly difficult for Michael to sustain when a sleazy, but sharp Florida PI closes in. 


That’s the perfect word to describe this masterpiece of suspense from Tom Kakonis, author of Treasure Coast and Blind Spot. 

Pre-Order it on

I had the chance to ask Tom Kakonis a few questions about Flawless and writing in general. Enjoy!

Gef: Where did you get the inspiration for FLAWLESS?

Tom: One of my best friends was a very successful management consultant for a large New York firm. He was also an avid reader and seemed to enjoy my earlier novels. One evening we were talking about difficulties in plotting crime fiction and it occurred to both of us, almost simultaneously, that someone in his profession, which required intensive work for protracted periods of time at a variety of sites far from home, would be an ideal candidate for a serial killer. Certainly, for a killer difficult to trace. And it was that revelation sparked the idea for the story that eventually became FLAWLESS.

Gef: What kind of a gear shift is it writing-wise or marketing-wise or otherwise since the advent of digital publishing?

Tom: Writing-wise, for me at least, nothing has changed, as I trust my first venture, TREASURE COAST, into the world of digital publishing will demonstrate. As for marketing, the difference between print and digital is night and day and quite unfamiliar to those of us technologically challenged.

Gef: How intensive does the research process get for you? What little tricks have you picked up with approaching the research phase of writing?

Tom: I’m not sure they could be labeled tricks, but I’ve always made extensive use of reference books when working with a topic or venue about which I knew little or nothing. Also have I shamelessly exploited the knowledge of friends who were experts in their respective fields. And after one has established even a small reputation as a writer, I discovered that specialists in a variety of vocations were willing—oftentimes eager—to share their wisdom and experiences.

Gef: What do you consider to be the strength or saving grace of the crime genre?

Tom: I don’t know if I’m qualified enough even to have an opinion of this subject, other than to maintain, as I have throughout my career, that when one is writing a book it’s best to ignore labels and to focus on the story and the characters. Let the work itself stand for whatever you may feel about the crime—or any other—genre.

Gef: What's the worst piece of writing advice you ever received? Or what piece of writing advice do you wish would just go away?

Tom: We could probably do without that old saw: “write what you know,” which, while useful in many instances, can often lead to sentimental soul-searching, or the taking of one’s psychic pulse on every page produced.

Gef: What kind of guilty pleasures do you have when it comes to books or movies or whatnot?

Tom: If western movies can be considered guilty pleasures for a writer of crime fiction, then that’s how I’d have to plead. I continue to enjoy and watch them whenever I can.

Gef: We're coming up to the end of the year, which means everyone and their mama is writing a year-end lists. So what book, movie, game, show, song, or dirty limerick has found its way to the tippy-top of your favorites this year?

Tom: At my advanced age I’ve abandoned list-making as a little too optimistic for me. But when it comes to books I like to simply browse the shelves of bookstores till I come across something that looks interesting. You’d be amazed at some of the curious subjects you can stumble on this way.

Gef: What projects are you cooking up that folks can expect in the near future, and how can folks keep up with your shenanigans?

Tom: If it turns out there’s enough of an audience in the digital world for the kind of things I write, then I plan to begin again that exhilarating, confounding, puzzling, rewarding activity of setting pen to paper and to keep at it for as long as I’m able. As for “shenanigans,” see the reference to age directly above and draw your own conclusions.

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